Nurturing creativity in young minds
A SCIENCE Challenge programme was recently organised by Universiti Kuala Lumpur, Institute of Medical Science Technology (UniKL MESTECH), which gathered many outstanding secondary schools to compete in various scientific challenges. Aimed to challenge students in the basic fundamentals of science and promote interactive and cooperative learning experience in science subjects, the programme was met with positive response by the students, teachers and councillors.
Spearheaded by UniKL lecturer, Khairul Nizam Mohd Isa along with Mohd Rusdan Yusuf, Norehan Mazlan and student volunteers, the programme was initially developed last year as part of a marketing strategy to attract and promote UniKL MESTECH to secondary school students as their potential university of choice. However, it is now being planned as an annual event, which students are looking forward to participating in.
According to Khairul Nizam, this sort of competition has long been implemented in overseas countries such as the UK to expose schoolchildren with advanced scientific knowledge and skills at an early age.
Through participation in the scientific challenges, it fosters a sense of enthusiasm to learn science subjects and give a taste of experiments conducted in the tertiary level of science courses.
The competition was divided into three categories – science and IQ quiz, scientific laboratory practicals and innovative challenge. In the latter challenge, the students were tasked to develop a Rube Goldberg machine, an apparatus engineered to perform a simple task in a complicated chain reaction manner in 90 minutes.
The challenge, which requires a level of scientific skill and fresh creative ideas saw the competing teams build complex and fully functional intricate machines.
According to UniKL MESTECH Research and Innovation head Dr Izuddin Fahmy Abu, the creativity displayed by the students were outstanding and made it difficult for the judges to score the groups in the innovation category.
“Creativity should be nurtured at a very young age. Intellectual ability alone does not determine that one will succeed in the outside world. One should be creative and quick in making sound decisions. I can see that the students taking part in Science Challenge today possess that quality,” he said during the closing ceremony.
For the past two years, only schools within Hulu Langat, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur and Seremban districts were invited to participate in the challenge. However, Khairul Nizam said that UniKL MESTECH has already planned to expand the programme and invite more schools throughout the country to get involved.
In this year’s Science Challenge, Sekolah Seri Puteri Cyberjaya, who went home empty-handed in 2016 emerged as the big winner by clinching the Champion trophy and a cash prize worth RM800.
Coming in a close second was Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Jalan Empat Kajang, winning RM400 and in third place was SMK King George V, Seremban. Other schools participating in the programme were SMK Bandar Tasik Selatan, SM Sains Alam Shah, SMK Convent (M) Kajang, SM Sains Perempuan Seremban, SMK Kajang Utama and SMK Jalan Reko
In a nutshell, the programme gave the students opportunities to communicate science in an engaging, concise and fun manner. It is hoped that in future editions, more schools would be able to take part in the event and UniKL is committed towards nurturing creative young minds with excellent teamwork, problem-solving skills and an enthusiasm for science.
■ For details on UniKL MESTECH, log on to www.unikl.edu.my, call 03-8739 5894 / 019-206 9960 or visit the Info Day on July 16 (Sunday) and 23 (Sunday), Aug 6 (Sunday), 13 (Sunday) and 20 (Sunday) for a campus tour and free health screening.
The Science Challenge programme aims to challenge students in the basic fundamentals of science and promote interactive and cooperative learning experience in science subjects.
Many outstanding secondary schools competed in various scientific challenges.